the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Monday, September 13, 2010

The End of Summer

There are signs.  These are three I noticed this week:
Wooly bear caterpillars are all over the place, usually crawling on the ground inches from my feet.  Once I see one I can't not look down for fear of crushing one of the furry little things.  Me walking across the pasture looks like step-step-awkward, startled hop-step-step.  I know the caterpillars just turn into plain-vanilla Isabella Tiger Moths (the fanciest thing about them is their great name) but they're so cute.  And I know they would make a big squish.  So I watch the ground and do the wolly bear dance.

Another sign - my bats are gone.  All summer they dip and dive around the pasture at dusk.  Just for you, I looked up facts so we can all be smarter.  The little brown bat (my guys) eat hundreds of insects each night, which explains why they crowd the airspace over my manure pile.  Lots of flies and mosquitoes there.  When flying insects die out, the bats migrate south and hibernate.  So my missing bats is a sign that summer, with its delicious mosquitos, is over.  But the same guys will be back next year, because bats live up to 30 years in the wild - I know, I was shocked, too!

One more bittersweet sight to mark the end of summer - my neighbor's hay field is finally cut and baled in rolls.  They used to use it for their horses, and then for another neighbor's cows.  But both the horses and cows are gone now, and they just cut it down at the end of the season and take the bales away - I don't know where.  But I know these bales mark the end of the hay season.  Taking the picture at the end of the day seemed appropriate.

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