We are travelling for an extended Thanksgiving holiday by visiting friends and family in the Mid-Atlantic. Late November is a wonderful time to wander down to this area from New Hampshire, because it's like travelling back in time - suddenly it feels like October again. True, the days are shorter and the foliage is past peak, but it's staying well above freezing at night and on sunny days, which we've enjoyed so far, it's getting into the 60's.
On Sunday, we went to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, which is a large marshland complex on the Chesapeake Bay on the eastern shore of Maryland. Large may not be the proper word to describe this marsh - it's truly impressive, this refuge covers 27,000 acres, much of it marsh.
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We saw bald eagles, Canada geese, snow geese and ducks and also encountered the infamous marsh denizen, the mosquito. It was really interesting to see where the geese go after their V's fly southward from New Hampshire in October - the DelMarVa peninsula (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) is a main wintering grounds for the Atlantic population of Canada geese.
We saw the most vibrant and luscious rows of kale and cabbage in someone's yard on Sunday driving back from the refuge. And I realized how much more hospitable southern climes are to growing vegetables. Instead of this mad rush to try to get plants in the ground in the spring so that they have a chance of maturing before the frost comes, you might take a more leisurely pace here. Or... you might work just as hard in the garden but for longer. As it is, in New Hampshire, I'm actively gardening from March (sowing seeds indoors) through November (with arugula) even though the frost-free "growing" season is only 121 days, according to Old Yankee Magazine. It's sort of nice to have a few months off to pursue other endeavors. But how tempting to have a growing season with 200 frost-free days!!