October has an average high of 61 degrees, and an average low
of 30 degrees. Average precipitation is 1.91 inches, Average
snow fall 1.5 inches.
Rock squirrels, chipmunks,
wood rats (better known
as pack rats), cottontails, wild turkeys, scrub jays, black bears, coyotes, gray
foxes, porcupines, spotted
skunks, deer mice,
towhees, chickadees, and juncos are all eating or storing available fall berries
and seeds, in preparation for
the coming winter.
Moose rut (mating season)
is in full swing. Interestingly,
moose did not become established in Colorado until 1978, when
the Colorado Division of Wildlife
introduced two dozen
animals into North Park. They have since also been introduced
into the San Juan Mountains near Creede.
Moose, except during
mating season, are solitary animals, but will reduce their home
range in winter and “yard up” or
group up to trample
down snow and make
Rattlesnakes are getting
ready to hibernate,
when multiple snakes will often pile up in one den. They can travel up to 10
miles from their foraging areas
to their favored hibernation
sites and may return year after year. While they may eat any small rodents who
inhabit a chosen
den, one scientist,
exploring a rattlesnake den, found 13 rattlesnakes, four turtles, 2 skunks and
a swarm of bees, all hibernating together
in apparent harmony.
Cottontail rabbit populations
peak this month. In
good years, they can have a litter once a month from February through August.
Only 15% of offspring will
make it through their
first winter. They are an important food source for many predators.
Ducks and geese are
migrating south for
the winter. Some will only move on when the lakes they are feeding on freeze
Elk begin migration
(they do a vertical
migration, dropping from 11,000 to 5-7,000 feet by late October).
We’re at the peak of the fall color season for our deciduous
trees (trees that loose
their leaves in the
winter). Did you know that the yellow/orange colors you see in
the fall have actually
been there since spring,
but were masked by
the green chlorophyll in the leaves? As the cool weather of fall
triggers the plant
to stop producing chlorophyll,
the other pigments
are revealed. Sometimes, as chlorophyll stops, anthocyanins start
producing the brilliant
reds we all love. http://www.durangonaturestudies.org/articles/101004.htm
for more on Fall Leaves.
If you have been covering
your warm season plants
at night in September, early October is the time to do your final harvests and
let your garden go
fallow for the winter.
Harvest remaining carrots and, without washing, store in wet sand in a cool place
(a plastic bin in
the basement works
well). They will last all winter. Also harvest and dry in a cool place any remaining
onions or winter squash.
Plant garlic early
in the month before the soil gets to cold to work and cover with a heavy mulch
of leaves or straw. They
will sprout now and
then overwinter, starting to grow again in early spring.
Now is also the time
to plant a green "cover
crop" of annual grass and/or peas or vetch to be turned
into the soil in the
spring as a green manure. Visit Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden
Supply at http://www.groworganic.com/default.html and type in "Cover
Crops" to learn more.
*Daylight Savings Time ends on October 29th
Last Quarter Half Moon:
|First Quarter Half Moon:
(Based on the Old