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Outdoors

  • Autumn in the Colorado Rockies creeps up

    The first day of autumn has arrived and with it came our first really cold day, which made it really feel like autumn. I’m not happy to see the cold weather come, but at least it gives me a good excuse to have a fire in the fireplace in the evening. The aspen have reached their peak in the high country; they were beautiful at Echo Lake this week, but those in our valley are still green.

  • A mouse in the house is worse than two in the yard

    There is definitely a hint of autumn in the air and in other places, too. Yes, the cool dawn air is sweet, clean and sharp from our cold nights.

    The rising sun is welcome and warming, but afternoon showers soon cool things off again. There are signs of fall, also.The first aspen tree in the valley below our house has turned golden and is now beginning to lose its leaves. The grasses are ripening their seed heads, so our hillside is now a warm tawny tan, with splotches of green from weeds and bits of red from wood beauty cinquefoil and wild roses.

  • Finches, sparrows abound as autumn approaches

    After a hard rain during the night, the morning of Aug. 30 was damp, misty, humid, partly cloudy, partly sunny, foggy, hazy and warm, with a slight breeze that would sway the tall grasses and flowers occasionally just enough to send a raindrop rolling off.

    There was a definite feeling of autumn in the air that Sunday morning and an unusual number of birds in the yard and at the feeders. I was only getting quick flashes of them from the window, so I finally went out on the carport where I could see over a larger area and follow them from place to place.

  • Cowbirds find sanctuary in other birds’ nests

    Every year in late August, I receive phone calls from readers who want to know about a large brown baby bird that is being fed by a much smaller parent. This is usually a chipping sparrow or a gray-headed junco locally, but it may be almost any smaller bird. Brown-headed cowbirds arrive in the spring about March 1 and are the only bird in America that does not build its own nest. They come to feeders regularly because they prefer millet to all other grain. They watch the other birds to see where they are building nests, and when the rightful owner of the nest is away, they deposit an egg.

  • Wet summer has brought new weeds to the area

    On Friday evening, Aug.14, the Weed Awareness Committee met for its last summer weed pulling at Evergreen Lake.

  • Swallow in flight a fascinating sight

    The lake is calm and peaceful this morning. Some 37 Canada geese are resting on the sandbar. Among them, a few double-crested cormorants jostle for room. A light breeze is rippling the surface of the lake, and the path of Bear Creek can be seen by the dark streak running across the ripples like a smooth black ribbon.

  • Know something about wild mushrooms before you pick them

    August is usually a rainy month. I had thought that it might be drier this year due to all the rain we have had in June and July, but the rain seems to be continuing into August.

  • August brings late wildflowers, fall migration

    July has been a great month. Most of the days have been blue and sunny, with cool mornings and warm afternoons with scattered showers. The summers of 1965 and 1969 were much like this, and I had very little need to water to have a bountiful garden. It seemed like we had moved to Camelot.

  • Ladybird beetle swarms a rare occurrence

    There has been a great deal of excitement in Our Evergreen World this week, all due to a big concentration of ladybird beetles in Genesee Park.

  • Kids need to be aware of poisonous plants

    If you have not taken a drive to see the wildflowers this year, now is the time to do it, for they will soon fade. Shrine Pass is always a delightful trip for wildflowers, and many can be seen without a great deal of walking. Arapaho Pass (west of Boulder) is also excellent but takes a bit longer and involves a bit more hiking. The unusual amount of moisture this year has made the wildflowers exceptional. Just last week friends of mine drove me to Bailey for dinner one evening, and the flowers along U.S. 285 were prolific, and the back roads were spectacular.