A Seasonal Nature Walk With

behind my home.

207-324-9453 bruce@brucemcmillan.com
PO Box 85, Shapleigh, ME 04076, US

I can look out my kitchen window, like here, and see wild turkeys. On this day, November 20, 2002, three turkeys were feeding and playing with the apple drops. They pecked at them and rolled them down the icy-snow hill.

They left behind turkey-snow-prints where grass grows in the summer.

I have a prairie type of yard that the woodchucks and I mow.

Years ago while hiking along the Appalachian Trail on Saddleback Mountain I came across the open downhill ski meadows where the lupines were going to seed. I filled my pockets with seed pods and put them in my cellar. The next spring I scattered the seeds across my field. What you see here is what's been happening ever since. There are plenty of purple lupines but the pink ones and the white ones, the ones with recessive genes, are rarer.

While hiking through the back fields I look far ahead and see a young fox. Is it pouncing on a mouse? A butterfly? Whatever it is, I think it got away.

Past the fields is the birch woods. The walk from the house is a two mile loop.

I thought I heard a black capped chickadee. Did you? Mouse through the trees to see if you can find the chickadee. As you can see, in winter this is a nice cross country skiing trail.

Though my home is only twenty-five miles from the ocean, it's located a thousand feet high on a ridge, Fort Ridge. I can look out and see the whole Presidential mountain range in New Hampshire.

Back through the birch woods the small trees are actually full grown birches. In winter storms the tree trunks bend instead of breaking. In a heavy ice storm they bend over so much that the woods are full of arches... and I'm not talking about the golden arches at McDonalds.

Once out of the woods I spot a wild turkey. It's not unusual to come upon them taking their nature walks. I saw a flock of twenty-four on one recent walk. Neat. They were reintroduced into the area and it has been a great success story.

Of course the fall foliage is a beautiful time of the year to take a walk. The bright colors of the emerging spring leaves can be seen once again as the daylight of the autumn days becomes less and less. The green chlorophyll finally slows down from doing its thing, photosynthesis, and stops hiding these beautiful colors. Can you believe it? Those colors were there all summer. That's fall foliage for you.

You never get tired of looking at the fall foliage.

Finally we're up to one of the ponds. I forgot the bread. What? I usually bring along some old bread to crumble and feed the fish. They swim up to the shore when they see me coming. They're only small fish but they make up for their small size with large numbers. Lots of fish show up when I start tossing bread crumbs in the water.

Back at the house I see four deer have come by to feed on the drops, the apples fallen from the trees that I planted years ago... just for them.

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