In Hancock County, Maine (Except as Noted)
November began and ended with anachronisms. November 1st reached an unseasonable 60 degrees (F) in plentiful sun. This apparently confused a number of insects and animals into thinking spring had sprung.
That day, among other sightings, we saw a Spotted Salamander taking a daytime crawl over a nearby mossy bog. This nocturnal amphibian should have been hibernating or at least waiting until dark to venture forth in late autumn.
If we were Roman centurions who associated salamanders with fire, we might have been pleased to think that we had seen an omen for a warm November. And, we would have been correct: This year's November here was unusually mild, unlike last year’s, which was a snow-filled howler.
On the sunny but chilly last day of November, we were walking on a lane that curves through the woods near where we saw the salamander. The landscape along this lane is almost timeless. There is nothing there that will go out of style; it could have been any number of country roads 100 years or more ago – or at least 85 years ago.
We heard a sound unlike the sounds we usually hear in the November woods and then, around a curve, came a beautifully restored 1930 Model A Ford, looking like it belonged here. It did. It was driven by Richard Hero, one of our ridge neighbors, who was making sure that his magnificent vehicle kept running.
Between the beginning and end of November, three traditional events occur. First, of course, is Thanksgiving. Up here, it not only is a reminder of our blessings and a time for turkey dinners, it's a time to debate whether the reintroduction of Wild Turkeys in Maine in the 1970s has been too successful or whether that numerous bird should replace the Black-Capped Chickadee as the state bird.
Wild Turkeys are the largest game birds in North America; hunting them is supposed to be the major control against their overpopulation, but the birds seem to be winning.
Which brings us to the second traditional November event in Maine: Deer Season, which is taken seriously up here. It is not unusual to go to the local general store for groceries and see dead bucks awaiting state tagging in the beds of hunters' pickup trucks. (Notice to those with sensitivities about this: one of the images in the gallery that is linked below is of this common November sight.)
The third traditional event is apple pressing for cider-making. This year has been an extraordinarily good one for producing apples on cultivated and the many wild apple trees, perhaps because of the warmer temperatures following a hard winter last year. Although most of the leaves of these trees have dropped, many of the apples are holding on to their branches desperately, creating an impressionistic effect.
Finally, we should note that, in Maine, November usually is the beginning of spectacular cold month sunsets. The month did not fail us this year.
(By the way, we probably should have titled this Journal entry "Postcards Mostly From Maine." We made three significant out-of-state trips in November, each of which is a separate Virtual Tour in the Journal. One image from each of these trips has been included in this collection of November moments that we want to remember.)
You can see all of the images of our November moments by clicking the link below. We recommend that your initial screening of the images be a full-frame slideshow. (To make that happen, click on the SLIDESHOW button above the featured [largest] image on the gallery page to which the link will take you.) Here's the link:
Barbara and Dick