It was 35 degrees here at wake-up time on Monday and the car was covered with dew after being heated all yesterday with a summer sun. We are close to reaching the peak of autumn color on the trees, ordinarily about mid-October down here. At Washington Pass, the alders and other trees are aflame.
We had some heavy-duty winds lately. What began around noon on Oct. 1 as a swimming pool-like surface on Davis Lake soon turned quite windy, and it required some effort to paddle the canoe. The winds persisted, and according to Flag Watching 101 from my Boy Scout days, the gusts were over 20 miles per hour. This persisted three days.
The wind exacerbated a continuing storm of pine needles that have been falling in record numbers for almost a month. We finally gave up on raking them and will wait until they are finished. They are especially annoying when they somehow manage to find their way into the cars, even when the vehicles are parked with the windows only part-way open. They seem to leave tiny drops of residue on the windows, and it takes some scrubbing to get the glass fully clear. The needles, it seems, are also responsible for grinding away the slick surface of new wipers.
The old orchard apple tree, whose genealogy we don’t know, produces wonderful fruit. This year we did not pick off the immature blossoms, and the old tree had branches literally hanging to the ground. One could almost hear the limbs groaning. When the fruit fell to the ground, both mule and whitetail deer came to feast, day and night. Their visits lasted for several weeks, long enough for the dog to get accustomed to them.
Then came the bear. He/she comes after dark every evening, setting off a solo medley of barks, howls, snarls and growls from the dog. Sometimes I go out with a heavy-duty flashlight to look for it. Only once did I come close, evidenced by the reflection from two eyes and what I took to be a growl. The dog barked and I backtracked to the house.
Up the road at North Cascades Basecamp, plans are being made for the coming year, at least the beginning, according to co-owner Kim Bondi. In her most recent newsletter, she reported that on Thursday from Jan. 7 through Feb. 25 there will be a repeat of soup-and-bread dinners at 5:30 p.m. and a presentation at 6 p.m. in the classroom. These presentations are almost always nature-related, with subjects ranging from flowers to rattlesnakes. Speakers and topics will be announced in a future newsletter, and hopefully there will be snow on the ground and more water in the river.
Ground water is abundant at “Salmon Central,” the ongoing fish recovery project this side of the Weeman bridge. The heavy-duty stuff, might well be near completion by the end of the month. The pipe-laying and excavations now reach from west of the old Fender Mill in a large southward bend where it will meet the river, which is currently dry, at the exit/entrance for the salmon and steelhead and other species. But there is enough ground water not too far below the surface that two large water pumps are being employed so crews can work.