It has been a pretty sad sack of Autumn in Massachusetts. Last week, the leaves finally decided to change. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of our now daily rain. A particularly heavy rain with plenty of wind.
I pondered the situation and realized we were indeed going to get some lovely autumn foliage, but half the trees will be naked by then. Today, finally, it was (mostly) sunny for most of the day. But tomorrow, the rain is back. Wind too. Good thing I took my camera with me. I could tell Garry wished he brought his because he had to borrow mine and take a few shots.
Always have a camera. You just never know!
It was a running around day. We had to catch up on errands. We get money on the first of the month, so we go shopping. By the first, we are out of everything except coffee, half-and-half, and dog food. And of course, treats for the dogs. Can’t run out of treats.
The trees — wherever they still were trees and not naked limbs — were beautiful. Not much red, but deep orange and a glorious golden-yellow. The woods were lit up when the sun hit them.
I live in New England and it is where I always wanted to live. I think I originally had a more northern destination in mind, but the requirements of work brought us originally to the Boston area and eventually, out to this valley.
When I dream of the glory of a New England autumn, I dream of Vermont, northern New Hampshire, and Maine. It is beautiful here, too, but up there … it’s breathtaking.
I’m sure the leaves are already changing there.
Up by Jackman, Maine, the weather is changing now and the leaves are turning. Someone asked me about the place and I dug up some information.
This is one of the most undeveloped areas in New England. It is poor and while there are some “resorts” there, it never developed the other places have. Partly, it’s because it is so far from anything else. Jackman is a tiny town. Not much work. A bit down on its luck.
Any number of attempts have been made to make the place more desirable to tourists, but except for anglers, it’s just incredibly beautiful. And relatively inexpensive, if you don’t mind driving many hours up into the mountains. It doesn’t hurt to have a pretty sturdy little car with four-wheel drive, either.
And some good camera equipment. There are bear and moose are everywhere. There are a lot of signs along the road warning you to be very careful. Moose plus car in a collision will probably kill the moose AND all the people in the car. They are really huge animals and this is one of the places they like.
Moose like bitterly cold temperatures. Any time it gets much above freezing, as far as the moose are concerned, it is too warm. The colder it is, the happier they are.
This is what the state of Maine says about the area:
Attean Pond is one of four large bodies of water in the Moose River drainage to the west of Jackman. More than 40 islands are found in the pond. With 1 exception of a set of commercial C:1mps on some of these islands, the area remains undeveloped. Sally Mountain to the north, Attean Mountain to the west, and rolling hills to the east and southeast complete a scenic background to the pond environment.
The shoreline of Attean Pond varies greatly in composition, providing a diversity of habitat types. Some areas consist of rock and ledge, others are gravelly, some weedy. Among these, several fine sandy beaches are available.
There are a number of good campsites around the pond, which are often utilized by people making the popular Moose River “Bow Trip.” Attean Pond is the beginning and end of this 30-mile canoe trip. A one-mile carry trail connects the western end of Attean with Boleb (?) Ponds, which then provides access to the Moose River and the opportunity to return to Attean.
Wild populations of brook trout and salmon are present in Attean Pond. However, large areas of shallow water are marginal habitat for these cold water game fish during the summer months. Of the total area, only about 600 acres have water deeper than 20 feet. In addition, large populations of yellow perch, suckers, and minnows compete for the available food supply. This further limits the potential for brook trout production.
The best spawning and nursery areas for the salmon and trout are found in tributaries to the Moose River several miles upstream from Attean Pond. The Moose River, both as a tributary and the outlet:
Maximum depth – 55 feet
Principal Fishery: Salmon, Brook trout
Surface – 70°F.
50 feet – 48°F.
Surveyed – August. 1956 – Revised 1977 (** They could probably use a newer version!)
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Published under Appropriation No. 4550
A Contribution of Dingell-Johnson Federal Aid Project F-28-P,
Maine and other small brooks that flow directly into the pond offer few areas that are suitable for spawning. or that could recall large numbers of small salmon or trout.
Lake trout are occasionally caught in Attean Pond. These have moved upstream from Big Wood Pond, where they are stocked. and dwell in a small area of deep water al the western end of the pond. Because of the competition from non-game species, especially yellow perch, brook trout management through stocking is now impractical.
Under existing conditions, wild trout should continue to provide a small fishery. Lake trout can utilize the non-game fish as forage, but it is unlikely that a sizeable lake trout population could be maintained. Management for this species is precluded by the small amount of deep, cold, well-oxygenated water available in the western end of the pond.
Thus, at present, Attean Pond is best suited for salmon. A smelt population provides the forage necessary to sustain this species and salmon are perhaps more inclined than brook trout to travel long distances up the Moose River to the 10 spawning areas in its tributaries.
Small numbers of marked hatchery salmon will be stocked to supplement the wild population. Their growth and contribution to sport fishing will be followed via information from anglers.
Area – 2,745 acres
Yellow perch have become established in the drainage. They have adversely affected the Quality of fishing in Attean Pond in recent years. There should be no introductions of new fish species that could adversely affect the existing trout and salmon populations in Attean Pond, or the management of other waters in the drainage. Minnows, Lake chub, Fall fish (chub), Creek Chub, Common shiner, Cusk, Salmon, Brook trout (squaretail), Lake trout (togue), yellow perch, Smelt, White sucker, Longnose sucker
ATTEAN TWP., SOMERSET CO
AREA 2745 ACRES
This is a fabulous place for a photo vacation. Rough and undeveloped land — with plenty of wildlife and an autumn to die for.
I wish we were going, but it’s too much driving for us these days.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been enchanted by paths and in particular, by paths in the woods. There’s something about them, a kind of magic. You can’t see where the path ends and any time you choose to walk on one, you could wind up anywhere from the parking lot of the local mall to an ancient churchyard.
It’s the not-knowingness that makes it special.
So every time we are taking pictures in or near the woods, I look for paths. Even tiny, obscure, overgrown paths nonetheless hold the possibility of adventure.
Mystery. A hidden future. The unknown calls out and we are obliged to follow.
I laughed when Ellin wrote that the weather is perfect for outside. “Not too hot, not too cold, and the bugs aren’t in full attack mode.” Or something to that effect. People who don’t live here don’t “get” the bugs.
We don’t just have insects. We have hordes of insects with jaws and stingers. Tiny ones that get into your eyes and ears and clothing.
Evil ones that carry disease and vicious ones that requires trips to the doctor and antibiotics. And of course, the slithery ones that eat your trees for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until they are naked. The trees are naked. The bugs are furry and itchy.
This year, so far, the bugs are “normal.” I see no evidence of returning gypsy moth caterpillars and I just hope that we are back to normal again. Nothing more vicious than mosquitoes and flies seem to be out there, discounting the ever-present ants, of course.
So this is our forest. It has come into bloom. Yesterday, actually. You could pretty much watch the leaves unfurl. It’s not quite summer, so I think we are going to get a week or two of actual spring! Amazing! We deserve it after our last, endless winter.
We were watching “Father Brown” on Netflix and in the back of my head, I was hearing a grinding sort of sound. I could not identify it, but it was coming from the basement. I could barely hear it … but it was there. It isn’t the sound our boiler makes and it didn’t sound like the dehumidifier.
Odd sounds in the house always get me investigating. I can’t ignore them.
So I went downstairs to look around. Aside from realizing that we really are overrun by mice, the sound had stopped. I shrugged and went upstairs, pondering how the mice — which we used to have under control — went so crazy. I think it’s because no one lives downstairs now, so they’ve the run of the place. They are living here, but as far as food goes, they are “ordering out.”
Our Pest Control guy assured us they aren’t eating our food because you can follow the trail of acorns from the trees. Our oak trees could feed a world of squirrels. It turns out, they are already feeding a world of mice.
Living in the woods is wonderful and romantic. It’s also messy and invites many uninvited guests to drop by and stay awhile.
Today, we took Gibbs to the vet. It was his annual visit. He needed to be tested for heart worm, though I know he doesn’t have it. As we were driving home, I noticed all the little streams looked more like real rivers. Everything has overrun its banks.
The Mumford and Blackstone Rivers are full and the dams wide open. Even the usually shallow Whitins Pond is deep and wider than usual.
That was when I realized what that sound was, the one I heard last night. It was a sound I had nearly forgotten because it has been years since I heard it.
It was the sump pump, pushing the water out of the sump under the house.
If we didn’t have a sump, a pump, and French drains, we would be up to our kneecaps in water downstairs. For the first time in more than a dozen years, we are facing the likelihood of flooding in the valley.
We are pretty well prepared for it because when we first moved here, we had some serious flooding issues. Before we even fixed the roof or put up siding, we were adding French drains across the entire front of the house, down the driveway and through the backyard into the woods. The sump and pump came about two years later and we haven’t had any flooding since.
Of course, if the water gets bad enough, nothing will stop it, but we don’t live on the edge of a river — though many people around here live very close to the river. We have a lot of rivers and tributaries and streams and ponds.
We are a major water source for all of Massachusetts as well as parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island. It is the reason I get so worried when we go through long periods of drought or semi-drought. It isn’t just “our” well. We are all linked to the same underground waterways and rivers. The water belongs to everyone.
Those golden moments at twilight are incredibly brief. The golden light hits … and less than 10 minutes later — usually more like five minutes — it’s dark. Maybe that’s just true at this latitude. I think sunset lasted longer in Arizona … and also in Israel. But I’m not sure.
Remembering light tends to be fleeting, both in photography and in memory.
Doesn’t that sound like some bizarre parallel of life? There you are in your L.L. Bean boots, sprayed head-to-foot with anti-bug glop. You don’t know what’s worse — the big heavy boots with your jeans tucked into the tops, or the slime all over your body.
That anti-bug spray is icky.
But you aren’t going into the woods without it, that for sure. The last time you decided to take a little walk in your own back yard — and much as this seems like a jungle from an old Universal Studios moved (circa early 1950s maybe?), it’s yours. You bought the land. And today, you are going to explore it.
You should have done this early in the spring, before all the clawing blackberry trees were up. Before those wolf spiders were eyeing you from their woodsy nests. Those things are so damned big and while in theory, the worst they can do is bite you — and they aren’t poisonous — you are pretty sure you’re going to have a heart attack if one gets anywhere near you.
Do you need gloves too? Maybe a hat?
It’s 80 degrees and the bug spray is forming rivulets with your own sweat. Grab the camera. Maybe you’ll see something beautiful. Probably not, but who knows? You’ve already met the bobcat and the fisher and the coyotes and the deer. Bunnies and raccoons. Snakes. Lizards. Millions of mice and rude chipmunks.
This was farmland. You know because between the trees, there are stone fences which once defined fields. The farms are 100 years gone. Today, it’s your own backyard. Which you’ve never explored because there’s no path, plenty of thorns, and trillions of mosquitoes.
Finally, you look around: “Who is coming with me?” That’s when you notice that your exploration group are lying on lawn chairs. Drinking coke, beer, and lemonade.
“Too hot,” says Michelle.
“I’m all sweaty in my shorts and tee,” points out your granddaughter. “No way am I wearing all that stuff. Give it up Granny.”
Are they laughing at you? No reason why not because you are laughing at you.
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