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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Friday 09/09/2011 Color me fall

Oh yes we are on the cusp of fall and colors are coming on quickly. While yes there are some swamp maples starting to turn at the edges of the wetlands, the real colors of fall have already blossomed as mushrooms on the forest floor. So don't look to the sky, but look down for these magnificent fall splendors. And so it was with my walk today down into Bear Brook Sate Park. How lucky I am to have 10,000, never to be developed, acres of wild lands as a close neighbor. I have come to know parts of this acreage for the last 40 years, first living on the northwest side in Allenstown in the early to late 1970's and ever since here on the northeast side in Epsom. During my 30 plus years as a wildlife biologist I was fortunate to work there as well many days from checking wood duck nesting boxes, to tracking a female yearling bear I released there in the early 1980's. But today's walk was all about the colorful mushrooms dotting the forest floor wherever I walked. How the early fall brings them up and out of the forest flood overnight. Literally. And there was the glow of wild flowers like aster, golden rod and the flowers of sumac to top it off. The woods and trails were filled with color today.

Last weekend most of our family gathered for the holiday weekend at our camp in down east Maine. My wife and I brought our two granddaughters up with us Friday with my daughter and her husband, sister, niece and son and my mother joining us on Saturday. The big, actually very little, wildlife encounter for the weekend was the small, newly hatched, snapping turtle that was found at lakes edge. It was quickly scooped up and watched over for much of the afternoon Saturday before being released at the spot where caught. Granddaughter Katie seemed mesmerized by its small size dainty body features.

Both of my granddaughters took turns shaving me over the weekend One is 5 and one 7, but they do a really good job. Have I been cut, well yes. But I think they learn patients, skills of observation and respect by allowing them to shave me. It's pretty fun too. Not too many adults would provide that much trust to a 5 or 7 year old. So I think it gives them great sense of confidence as well.

At the nearby camp the 13 year old boy played with my niece's 10 year old son and they decided to build a tree house right near our camp. By Saturday afternoon the house, only 5 feet or so above ground, had been built. How the kids spent the rest of the weekend hammering and enjoying life in a tree. Though only yards away from our camp it seemed like a wilderness castle to them.

I did managed to put up another 16 pints of relish last week. I actually saw a recipe for zucchini piccalilli relish a month ago that I wanted to try. Hope it is as good as the zucchini relish I made a couple weeks before. My tomatoes are slow to grow and develop but I have plenty of string beans, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers and potatoes to pick fresh.

Boy am I seeing turkeys everywhere. Wednesday I spent the day on the Governor Councilor Ray Burten's annual tour of his district with fellow Fish and Game Commissioners and staff. Seems like every field I looked at as we traveled held a flock of turkeys all through Carroll County. The woods and fields are just so full of life this time of year.


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