Autumn in Vermont
Autumn is officially here; the Autumnal Equinox was Saturday, September 22. The leaves are beginning to turn, more so in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Vermont Tourism has a Foliage Forecaster, with schematics of the progression of foliage in VT in an “average” year. I think that the Foliage Forecaster is pretty accurate this year; color in the Champlain Valley is in its very early stages, and I hear that the colors are really starting to bloom in the Kingdom. Anyone can check the up-to-date VT Foliage Report online. Some people say that it’ll be a great color year, since it was a bit droughty. Some say it will be a poor color year since it was a bit droughty. We’ll know better when it’s over! In my part of Vermont, I am seeing a lot of red starting to pop out. I love this; seems to me a lot of years have mostly yellow and orange with little to no red. This leads me to predict it’ll be a great color year, but aren’t they all?!
Autumn is my favorite time of year, with its comfortable, cool days and crisp, sometimes cold nights. The apple harvest is in full swing. Do you know about Vermont’s “Apples to iPods” event? Wooden apples are hidden throughout VT, in 19 pick-your-own orchards. Find a wooden apple, and you’ll win either an iPod or an iPad! Vermont was extremely fortunate this year; the early spring warm weather, then cold snap could have been a disaster to the apple crop. No orchard was unscathed, but the apple crop is great, a week to 10 days earlier than usual. While you’re at the orchard, join the Vermont Foodbank’s Pick For Your Neighbor Program; pick and purchase extra apples to donate to the foodbank.
The weather, apples, pumpkins and fall foliage brings tourists by the carload and busload to enjoy all that Vermont has to offer. Right now, corn harvest is in full-swing and some 3rd and 4th cut haylage is being harvested. This means there are numerous tractors, choppers and trucks on the road, moving from field to field and moving the silage back to the farm for storage. This is a dangerous combination; the tourists enjoying the scenery (not necessarily paying full attention to what is happening on the road in front of them) sharing the road with slow moving vehicles turning into and out of fields. Days are getting noticeably shorter; dusk comes very early. So, farmers, it’s very important to make sure that all warning flashers, lights and SMV signs are in good condition, are clean, easily visible and on every piece of equipment that’s on the road. Lock the brake pedals on your tractor before getting on the road. Be extra-vigilant on the road for other vehicles sharing the road; use the defensive driving we were all taught in drivers’ education. Be safe so you and everyone else can enjoy autumn in Vermont.