Joanna BastianBy Joanna Bastian

Fall smells like ripening fruit and the color of “turning:” the earthy scent of chlorophyll draining from leaves and the remaining glucose turning from yellow to orange, red and brown. The “turning” scent mixed with the chill in the air coaxes sweaters to emerge from storage box hibernation. Herbal teas line the shelves next to the coffee mugs, and summer sandals are put away to make room for fuzzy slippers. Horror movies start queuing up on Netflix, and little witch and goblin costumes appear at Hank’s Harvest Foods, near the pumpkin bins.

I wish I could smell the turning of the season, but my olfactory system is not working. Along with the rest of my head, it is congested. My ear canals, my eyeballs and even my hair follicles are congested. My whole head feels like it is going to explode. Or implode. At any rate, I’m miserable. Good thing there is plenty of hot apple cider and a pile of horror movies here to pass the time.

My mister picked apples this morning and had an experience that would rival any horror movie sequence. He reached for a large ripe apple and pulled it from the limb. As he slowly turned the fruit to admire it he noticed a small hole piercing the skin of the apple. A wasp emerged from the hole, followed by a cloud of more wasps. The apple was filled with a small swarm, drunk on apple flesh.

On Saturday the Windmill Farm had its fourth annual Kid’s Pumpkin Fest. Earlier in the week I drove by the farm and saw the preparations underway. A row of smiling pumpkin faces lined the fence along Highway 153 at the corner of Gold Creek Loop, leading visitors to the  farm. A large black culvert was set aside for use in the hay crawl and a flatbed truck was loaded up with bales for hay rides. Even the goats seemed ready for their big day of visitors.

Admission to the annual event is free. It is an enjoyable afternoon for families with young children. Kids play games for prizes, get their faces painted, and pick their own pumpkin from the large pumpkin patch. This annual event is becoming a valuable tradition in the lower valley. Owners Gary Walker and Patty Barker put on quite a party for the little ones.

I received an interesting email this past week from John Jakoski about feeding hummingbirds in the Methow throughout the winter. One little bird, the Anna’s hummingbird, does not migrate and if you continue to put out a feeder through the winter months, you might see them.

Be sure to use a mixture of 1:4 sugar water and clean the feeder weekly. Wrap the feeder in Christmas lights to keep it from freezing. To learn more, visit