Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Time of Change

September is a month of many changes. Dove season started the month off with a bang, and before long the leaves will be changing.   Archery season has arrived here in western North Carolina, and along with it the excitement and promise of another deer season. The weather is finally starting to feel like fall, with cool mornings and warm afternoons, but nothing like the heat of July and August. School is back in full swing, and the students have made it through three weeks already. The county fair will be coming up in a couple of weeks, and the annual antique tractor pull was held last weekend.

My window to the woods - from the ground blind
I love September, but it is also a challenging month for me. It seems like it is a month that is full of outdoor opportunities but short on time. I know that some of the year's best trout fishing can happen during the fall, and I have often said that I wanted to spend more time exploring the fishing on the local smallmouth river in the fall. On the other hand, the opportunity to finally deer hunt after almost nine months of waiting draws me to the woods. By this time of the year, I have been checking trail cameras and preparing stands long enough that I can't wait to get to hunt.
My time for outdoor activities in September is also limited since school is back in session, and this is another reason I tend to hunt more than anything. Both of the farms I deer hunt on are a five minute drive from my house, and my house is a five minute drive from school so I am fortunate enough to have time to get to the stand or blind after work some evenings. Trout and smallmouth involve more of a commitment due to the distance I have to drive to get to them, so they are left to the occasional weekend trip when I can pull myself away from the woods.
The mineral site where my trail camera has been all summer
September marks a month of change for the deer I hunt as well. I have noticed that the deer that have been almost daily visitors to the mineral site I established have started to show up on the trail camera less frequently. I have heard a few people mention that they are seeing bucks that have lost their velvet or that are in the process of losing velvet. This is the time of year when bucks that have been buddies all summer begin to start fighting to establish dominance and the right to breed. Fawns will begin losing their spots, and the does will start weaning them before the rut begins in November.
Ripe Muscadines
September is also a time of change in the garden.  Most of this summer's crop has been harvested and mowed down, except for a few sweet potato vines. This past week, I set out a few cabbage seedlings, but I didn't do like some years and plant broccoli and cauliflower, or any greens like turnips or mustard. Most of the garden is lying fallow now, not to be disturbed until spring planting time comes again. The muscadines are finally ripe, and the pecans are getting close to dropping. I love being able to gather these, but it's sad knowing that the fresh fruits and vegetables of summer will soon be a tasty memory. The nights are getting longer and the days shorter, and soon darkness will come quicker than I would like.
Cabbage Seedling in the Garden
The month of September is a special time. All around, nature is going through the changes that mark the transition from summer to fall. I can't think of any other month where so many outdoor activities are available at the same time. As someone who loves everything about the outdoors, the biggest challenge that September presents is deciding how to spend the time I have to be outdoors. I must admit, that is a wonderful dilemma to have!

Thanks for stopping by!

- Joseph

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