Goldenrod, swallows: Autumn approaches Little Compton

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To the editor:

As we slide towards the Equinox I am in deep denial that fall may be coming despite seeing a vee of geese, missing the swallows congregating on the telephone wires, and not hearing the catbirds chuckling at me from their hidden perches.

No wonder I have been confused about goldenrods. Some have finished, some are in bud and a spectacular variety is now in the back forty looking like upward thrusting yellow flames. An article in the bulletin of the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society Fall issue states that there are 27 species and are of interest “— despite the difficulties in identification that they pose.” Like warblers, there are too many and I am too lazy to try and figure them out.

In the nearer field there are a few patches, but they have been overshadowed by the six foot tall wild sunflowers. Maybe five years or so there was a small patch but now they have marched across the field and surround the east side of my back lawn. Their stems are slender, tough and wiry and they make a wonderful sight on a stormy day as some flowers are pushing forward while others are snapping back. Its as though they had captured the wind as very little else seems to be moving.

Don’t forget to keep your hummingbird feeders freshly filled every week and clean. If you see a smudge of mildew give them a soak in a little cold water and bleach. You will not be tempting the locals to stay but providing food for the weary travelers as they head on their long journey to Mexico. If you use a calendar, mark every day that you see a “hummer” and two weeks after your last sighting you can take down the feeders until you put them up again on tax day – April 15.

Sidney Tynan

Little Compton

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