The old-timers used to say, "You get Walton Fair, Labor Day and winter in that order and that close together."
It's hard to believe that summer is gone already. It seems that I was getting our camper ready for a summer of fun just a few days ago. Now, it's already winding down.
Before long, I'll be closing it up for winter. Heck, I bought my winter ski pass to Belleayre Mountain the other day.
Where does the time go? Is it the fast-paced life that we live or do we try to cram too many things into such a short amount of time? My grandfather used to say, "Time doesn't go by any faster, we just get used to the routine."
Believe it or not, winter is just around the corner. Early bear season starts in the Adirondacks on the 15th of this month, and archery season for deer around here begins Oct. 1.
I wonder what kind of a winter we'll be having. After all, there was only man-made snow on the slopes last year. There wasn't enough snow for guys to run their snow machines, and this past summer wasn't any better. The creeks are lower than I've ever seen them because of the lack of rain.
Usually when we camp at West Canada Creek north of Utica, we kayak and float the river with tubes. Not this year. The water was down three or four feet and there were more sections of gravel than water. People who tried floating it dragged their canoes and kayaks farther than they paddled them.
So what's the forecast of things to come? Last year, the trees were bent right to the ground with an overabundance of apples. Everyone said that was a sign of a hard winter. There are no apples this year, but the oak trees have plenty of acorns. Is that a sign?
I had an old gentleman tell me the other day that we're going to have a long winter because the pine cones are falling early _ before they got a chance to open up.
Personally, I don't think it has anything to do with a winter forecast. The pine trees in my yard started losing its cones weeks ago, far ahead of schedule, and many of the trees in the woods look like they're dying. A lot of the leaves on the maples and oaks have turned brown. Whole sections of the trees seem to be dead.
I think it's the lack of water. Parts of the trees are shutting down, so the pine cones are falling to allow what moisture there is to nurture the rest of the tree.
Do these things have anything to do with winter? Probably not. The Farmer's Almanac says we're going to have quite a bit of snow and cold this winter. Well, we usually do here in the northeast, so that's no big surprise.
The almanac uses a 100-year average to predict the weather. So when you average in all the snow and cold we used to get, well, you see where this is going.
One thing is for sure, we'll have weather this winter and there's nothing we can do about it. We take what we get. I just hope we have lots of snow because those new skis I bought last year didn't get a lot of use.
For those of you who hate winter, there's a reason. You don't like to do anything outside once the snow starts to fall. Take up a winter sport and it will change your whole outlook about winter.
But don't worry; in just a short time, spring will be just around the corner.
The Gilbertsville Rod and Gun Club's youth shoot, trap shoot and chicken barbecue is Saturday. For more information, call Bob Manwarren at 607-859-2526. The club will hold its last 3D archery shoot of the season Sept. 16. Sign-ups run from 7-11 a.m.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.