Sunrise was at 7:04 this morning and sunset at 8:29 this evening, for a daylength of 13 hours 25 minutes. We’re losing 6 minutes 39 seconds a day. The sun at its highest is a little more than 29° above the horizon, and now dips more than 18° below the horizon — astronomical night. At the same time the full moon, which of course is opposite the sun in the sky, is getting higher in the sky — almost 25° tonight. The last quarter will be higher yet.

Amur maple in my yard. It has some anthocayanins, but as an exotic is slow to turn color.

I put the plastic covers over the beans and squash last night, and brought in the geraniums. The late-planted green beans are almost ready to pick, and as this is a new variety for me, I at least want to find out what they taste like! Turned out it wasn’t necessary, though, as the temperature at sunrise was 36F.

The trees are at that stage where some are green with just a few yellow leaves, some are about half turned, some are all gold, and some are already turning tan and losing their leaves. Yellow leaves sprinkle my lawn. There are even a few clumps of red-orange on the hillsides.

Clumps? Yes. Aspens, like birch, normally turn yellow in the fall, not orange. But a few mutant aspen do show a lot more red than usual in their foliage. Single trees would be hard to spot, but aspens spread by growing new shoots from their roots. This is decidedly problematic when you have a lawn bordered by aspens; trees are constantly poking themselves through the grass. But it also means that a stand of aspen is often actually a clone, each tree identical to its neighbors genetically. If one of the mutant trees with more red than usual in its fall coloring starts forming a spreading clone, the result is a red patch on the hillside.

The photo, looking ENE from a parking lot on the north side of Fairbanks, shows two such clones on Birch Hill. The more obvious is on the right side of the picture, just below the horizon. The other, smaller clone, is above and to the left of the Home Depot sign. More than likely, the uniform light green areas are other clones, ones that turn color late.