It’s fall—and to prove it we’ll have only 11 hours and 52 minutes of daylight today. The sun rose at 7:45 this morning and it will set at 7:37 this evening – no more attending things that start at 7 pm, unless I can be sure of a ride back. At its highest the sun will be not quite 24° above the horizon, and days are now longer than those everywhere to the south of us..
Officially, we started fall last Friday at 1:05 in the morning, but it wasn’t until Sunday that we got down below 12 hours of daylight. Why? Because sunrise and sunset are defined according to when the top of the sun, not the middle, is just visible on the horizon. To be exact, you actually have to take into account also the fact that the atmosphere curves the path of the light rays slightly, so that the actual position of the sun is always a little lower in the sky than what our eyes tell us. This is only important when the sun is very near the horizon, of course, but at high latitudes, where the sun rises and sets at a very shallow angle, it can make several minutes difference in the time of sunrise and sunset. This also changes the apparent direction of sunset and sunrise – on the day of the equinox the sun actually rose 2° N of due east, and set 1° N of due west.
The weather has, sad to say, caught up with the season. We had a frost Saturday night, and only the hardiest plants are still going strong. I pulled the rest of the beets yesterday, and picked the few beans that were ready, as well as removing the hoses and laying them out to drain. I’m glad I brought in the potted plants last week. Next step? The potato bag.
The native deciduous trees have lost most of their leaves, with the exception of a few golden holdouts, and even exotics like my Amur maple are close to dropping their foliage. The world has changed form green to shades of tan. Even the evergreens are darkening. Good-bye, summer. See you next year.