Fall and Family

August 29, 2019

Wow…fall already. The calendar may not say so, but we all know it’s true. Hints of color are creeping in everywhere. Goldenrod, wild asters and various grasses are abloom and all along the roadsides color is popping amid the trees. Sumac is already giving it up.  It won’t be long until any trip, no matter how short, will be a grand color tour.

Julie Traynor Postcards from the Pine Columnist

This week we’ve read online claims by the Farmers Almanac that a wicked winter is once again headed our way. No one wants to hear that, least of all those of us who still feel cheated over the non-existent spring, which I do. I feel Mom Nature owes us a long smooth glide of a fall, into a mild, sufficient and no-frills winter. We can only hope that those unwanted triplets, rain, sleet and ice, leave us alone. If recent history is any indicator, this is not likely to happen. We can only hope.

I was once quite a fan of the winter months and disliked spring least of all; mud and bugs being the prime factor. But, I join the growing chorus of folks who say that winter is not as it once was. Things are definitely different than they were ‘when we were kids’. That is a phrase I dislike, but one which perfectly describes a timeframe. Winter is colder and lasts longer; summer is certainly hotter. When I was a kid, 75 degrees in June was above average. The winter months buried us in snow.

Weather cycles are changing, of that there is no doubt. Mom Nature is rapidly proving that she is capable of extremes none of us has witnessed before. Each of us has an opinion as to the cause. I won’t go into them or mine, beyond saying that the weather cycles are indeed different from they once were. The story continues.   

Our yard has been busy all summer with many nesting birds. Easily the winners of the population contest were robins, who appeared to be the major nester in the woods this summer. Runners up in our yard are hummingbirds and house wrens. Both are a delight. There are a lot of hummers this year. The population increase prompted my neighbor and me to add more feeders.  The many busy little buzzers spent all summer zooming from yard to yard and provided us with summer long entertainment.

The cocky little wrens with their wagging tails are easily among the most vocal in the yard. One ‘talking’ often, letting a sitting mate know that he is there, dawn to dusk. Later both parents encouragingly scold their newly fledged young. As soon as their second brood fledged, our ample wren family hit the road, so to speak.

We also note that the last to arrive and the first to leave nighthawks and whip-poor-will have been gone for a week. Once there is a hint of cooler weather they leave for the Bahamas, literally. Likely, the Kirkland’s warbler is right along with them. These birds are never here long enough. We enjoyed two excellent Kirkland’s sightings in May and June.

So, we’ve loaded the birdfeeders with fresh sunflower seeds, much to the delight of young chickadees and nuthatches, whose numbers seem increased this season. It is time to cater to the hometown crowd.

Last weekend we drove to Lake George to attend the 95th birthday party for our aunt, Jenny Kelly. I am delighted to report that it was a huge success and that 35 of her offspring, nieces and nephews gathered to surprise her. It was a wonderful day, full of much laughter and warm memories. Our Aunt Jenny is a remarkable woman and I have no doubt that we will gather to celebrate future birthdays in her honor.

Aunt Jenny is the widow of the Gardener’s uncle, Mike Kelly. She is the mother of four, grandmother and great-grandmother to even more and a much-loved aunt to many. As long as I have known this sweet woman, she has had an unfailing sunny disposition, infectious laugh and a remarkable positive attitude. All children and animals adore her and her years as a Story Hour lady gave all much pleasure.  I am so lucky to be a part of her family. 

I will never be able to express how much I love and treasure my Traynor family. Not to them, not to you. No matter how I say it, the words will never be adequate. If anyone understands, Aunt Jenny does.





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